Virginia Room Digital Collection


The Virginia Room Digital Collection includes photographs, oral histories, books, pamphlets and finding aids to items in the Virginia Room. Continue to check back for new additions.

Browse Items (11 total)

Life at the orphanage often paralleled the events within Salem. Some of those were not positive. In 1918, a severe outbreak of the Spanish flu closed Salem’s schools, churches, and businesses for over a month. Sixty children at the Baptist…

The residence for the superintendent was constructed within the first decade of the orphanage’s operation. The residence allowed the superintendent to not only live on the campus but to host visitors and families.

This second cottage to be built for the orphanage was named for the institution’s first superintendent, the Reverend George J. Hobday, who served from 1891 until 1906.

The original 16 acres on which the orphanage sat was donated by businessman John M. Evans. The very first cottage to be built, which was completed on July 1, 1892, was named for the philanthropist.

By 1905, the Baptist Orphanage, which was just a decade old, was caring for 165 orphans. Some were placed in the institution’s care due to loss of parents, while others came to live because their families were impoverished. All needs of the…

The hill-top Baptist Orphanage prided itself on being self-sustaining in its early years. A generous donation of an additional 87 acres in 1897 allowed the orphanage to even operate a full-scale farm and dairy herd.

The cornerstone on the Administration Building was laid on July 4, 1901, becoming occupied in 1902. It’s red-brick castle-like structure was an imposing piece of architecture on the campus. The Administration Building was razed in 1965.

Before the advent of modern medicine, quarantine was often the best strategy to avoid the spread of disease. Salem, like all communities, had to impose its fair share of them. In 1905, the Baptist Orphanage was quarantined for two weeks due to an…

As a measure of Salem’s hospitality, many of the local churches, regardless of denomination, became involved with both the Baptist and Lutheran orphanages. In fact, Roanoke College offered free tuition to qualified students from both orphanages.

The Baptist Orphanage often brought visiting Baptists from around the state to Salem, who, according to the early Salem newspapers, would bring the children into town for entertainment and recreation.

PC 139.18j Baptist Orphanage.jpg
"Baptist Orphanage, Salem, Virginia"
Output Formats

atom, dc-rdf, dcmes-xml, json, omeka-xml, rss2